Remember when Barack Obama disdained presidential signing statements? As with so much else, there is a difference between candidate Obama and President Obama. The president signed the national defense authorization act while expressing concern about provisions some have argued could lead to the indefinite detention of American citizens.
While signing the bill into law, Obama assured everyone that he would never allow for indefinite detention. To do so, he argued, would violate sacred American traditions. But habeaus corpus for U.S. citizens isn't just a tradition. It is a requirement of the Constitution.
It is understandable that the president would not want to hold up money for our national defense over a disputed provision that supporters insist will not change existing law regarding the detention of Americans. But if the president is truly concerned about its meaning, his promise to interpret it narrowly is hollow -- like many other hollow Obama promises before it.
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